Friday, October 15, 2010

When Pigs Fly

"When pigs fly," is an old saying we've probably all heard throughout the years that means something is impossible or never going to happen.

This figure of speech took on personal meaning this past week at Verde.  Of course, pigs can't fly but they can be flown by plane across the country, arrive on time, meet their new owners and live happily ever after. Right? Well, as it turned out, the "happily ever after" would have to wait.

We've been anxiously waiting on our boar piglet, Porter, to come to West Virginia to wed our precious girl pig, Pansy. Finally, word arrived, Porter was ready to make the trip from California to West Virginia.

We chose Continental Airlines as our carrier because they have a good reputation for quality animal care.  However, our plan hit a snag when we discovered that non pressurized propeller planes were the only ones flying into West Virgina that evening. Animals require a pressurized compartment for fear of death from extreme temperatures, or lack of oxygen among other risks.

Pressurized jets were flying into Columbus, Ohio, though, and Columbus is only about three hours from Huntington so that seemed reasonable enough. I figured I could knock out two birds with one stone because my car needed repair work, which is only available in Columbus, and I could pick up Porter later that day at the airport.

Tuesday was the big day. I left for Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to make my car appointment at noon. I would simply sit at the dealership while my car was being repaired and then fill the remaining gap of time with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner, a stop at Barnes and Noble and just enough time to pick up Porter at 6:45 p.m. The pig and I would then drive from Columbus to West Virginia, arriving back home around 11p.m. It was going to be a long day, but doable and worth it.

At 6 p.m. I received word that Porter's flight was delayed. At 7 p.m. I learned it had been delayed, yet again. Another hour passed prompting another delay and an idea that I had perhaps ought to start looking for a pet friendly hotel. At this rate, I could be sitting in the cargo parking lot all night. So, I adjusted my plans, which meant I would drive back the next morning with my little pig in tow. I found a room near the airport.

I contacted the hotel and was asked what kind of pet I had with me. I just knew if I said pig there would be no room at the inn.
"Uh, puppy?" I said.
"No problem," the clerk said.
Why did I tell them puppy, I thought to myself.
Once I got to the hotel and began to check in, I knew I had to be truthful. It would either set me free, not a good thing in this case because I had nowhere else to go, or maybe the attendant would shed pity on this weary traveler.
The desk clerk asked again, "What kind of pet?"
"Well, I said puppy on the phone, but in all honesty, I was afraid you wouldn't let us in if I told you the truth." The clerk's eyes grew wide and her forehead began to crease.
"I'm actually waiting on a miniature piglet."
After a brief pause, a smile began to cross the face of the clerk who became excited and agreed to let us stay only if she were able to pet the pig when we got there. Done deal. Whew, relief.

In the meantime, in my room, the calls kept coming from the airline, delay after delay. Finally, around 10:30 the flight was cancelled. Little Porter would spend the night in Newark, NJ. The same little Porter who earlier was running free with his brothers and sisters on their farm in California. I worried about him. I wondered if he would be fed and watered. I wondered if he were scared.

The next morning brought new plans. I left the hotel about 9:30 a.m. en route to the airport to pick up Porter who was due to arrive at 10:15 from NJ, to Cleveland, and then to Columbus.

At 10 a.m.,  Continental called to tell me the flight from Cleveland was delayed. Thirty minutes later, I was told the flight had been cancelled.  Ok, I am thinking this can not be happening. He has been on a plane since 6 a.m. Tuesday morning when he left LAX.  He needs food, water and to get out of that crate.

Thankfully, USA Kune Kune's Lori Enright, who was also the shipper, was on the phone with them,  as well. Between the two of us, we got them to put him on a flight of cargo coming from Cleveland to Columbus around noon. When pigs fly, right?

At 12:15 I received a call from my new buddy Mark in the cargo bin to tell me the news I'd been waiting to hear, "your piggie is here." I was there within five minutes and sure enough little Porter had finally arrived.  He was fine,  but ready to get out of the crate. Unfortunately, we had a three hour drive back to the farm, but he was a good little fella all the way.

So, next time you hear "when pigs fly," you might think twice...pigs can fly, but it  can be quite taxing and even if you have an airline to assist with this incredible event, it takes quite an effort!


From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Wow what an ordeal. Glad everything turned out fine. Can't wait to hear the news on how the greeting went with Pansy.

Unknown said...

Oh poor piggie! What an ordeal! I am so glad you all are back home safe and sound. We have flown our cats cross country before when we moved Boston to LA and then LA to NY. It is so stressful!

He is adorable and I cannot wait to see more pics!



Sharon said...

I know your stress level had to be extremely high. Poor Porter! Pigs are very intelligent - wonder what was going on in his mind?

Glad you finally got him home, where he belongs!

Dog Trot Farm said...

Famous words from the book Charlotte's Web "that's some pig," Can't wait to hear what Pansy thinks of her new beau, a seasoned traveler at that. My neighbor has a "when pigs fly" weathervane representing a marriage that certain people thought would never happen. Fifteen years later the couple is still going strong!

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

all is well that ends well, so sorry you had to go through that ordeal! he is very very cute but i can't see his face!

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, that was some ordeal. I'm just relieved to hear that all's well that ends well.

And he's sooo cute!!

Happy Weekend!

Chicken Wrangler said...

What an amusing post! So, you have a flying pig! Love it! Pigs are so smart - we had a pot belly pig, and also a Hampshire Hog - both were as smart as dogs, if not smarter!

Missouri Gal said...

Oh My Goodness, poor little piggy. I'm glad he's at his forever home and happy again!

Rural Rambler said...

Oh my gosh I read this Amy alternating between laughing and crying! Then I read it to CH and we both laughed together. I am happy Porter landed safely at Verde Farm, he will have a great life and I am glad that we got to hear his flight and arrival story and that desk clerk at the hotel is an angel. Hope Porter and Pansy are happy together forever! You know you are an angel too!

Farm Girl said...

That just seems like such a hard day. I am glad you got Porter home and he is a gorgeous boy. I laughed at you story about telling the desk clerk. That is so cute. I have learned a good lesson, I will drive to pick up a pet, if ever there was a time. I mean I do get chicks at the post office. I bet today, Friday,
I bet you are tired and glad to be home.
That is quite a story, I enjoyed it Amy. Thanks

Angela said...

I'm happy that Porter finally made his way to his new home! Wonder what caused all of those delays and cancellations? My husband flies a lot and has never encountered such problems as that.

Can't wait to see more pictures of the little guy!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Flat Creek Farm said...

Whew! So glad he made it okay! What an experience, for both of you. Can't wait to see more little piggie pictures. I must know more about these little mini pigs ♥ :) -Tammy

Michelle said...

Whew! What a story! Glad the piggie was okay!

Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Oh AMY! Poor Porter AND you...they sure gave you the 'run around' didn't they! Well at least he arrived safe and sound but I bet you and piggie are both tired from the run around. What a little sweetheart. I'll be watching for more pictures of your new little boy...enjoy your weekend! :)

Country Gal said...

AAWWW what a sweety ! I would of gone out of my nut the amount of time he spent on that plane ! glad he is at home ! Have a great day !

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

WOW, what a day for you and Porter! He is a handsome guy. I'll be looking forward to seeing the little family Porter and Pansy make together!

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I came to your blog the other day, but problems with my internet at home kept me from staying around long enough to read any posts--I've started with this one and loved it!! I have a couple of "winged pigs" to remind me that anything is possible, and I'm glad it was possible that your new addition made it to you sooner rather than later!!

I look forward to getting to know you a bit better!!

Terry said...

Poor little piggy!

I followed you on over from Lori Skog's blog - you have a sweet blog.

Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

Poor Porter, so glad this tale (or tail) had a happy ending! Pansy must be relieved as well.

I never thought much about shipping animals and all of these kinds of challenges! It's hard enough on us humans sometimes.

Mare said...

Wow...pigs do fly, indeed! New to the blog and love it! I can always appreciate a fellow West Virginian blogger!

Janice Grinyer said...

OH MY! that would have been a total "fretfest" ~ so glad he made it home!

If there ever is a "next time", I would be very tempted to buy a round trip ticket, pick up some diapers and baby clothes (in blue of course) and see if this little piggie could go wee wee wee all the way home up front instead of the cargohold...but then poor passengers would have to come up with ways to compliment you on your "baby" ...

"gosh, he has such nice...uhmm... nice... eyelashes?!"


Lori Skoog said...

What s story! I hope Porter is doing well...he can't miss at your farm.

Janet, said...

So glad your story about your piggy had a good ending. So, pigs do fly after all.

Kent Island Red said...

Oh my gosh, Amy, could you hear my heart beating through my chest as I read this story? After I kept reading "delay...delay...delay" I said to myself, this story better have a happy ending or I won't be able to sleep tonight! PRAISE THE LORD(!) that little Porter arrived safely. Extra treats for the brave traveler :-)! I don't have a lot of confidence in these airlines tho. Just glad your newest family member is safe and sound. Whew! Thanks for the near heart attack.

Unknown said...

What a great story and I will think of your little beauty when I say" When pigs fly " :)) Welcome little Porter :))

Staci@LifeAtCobbleHillFarm said...

What a story! Ugh. Poor Porter - glad he's home. And you're correct, the photo of Emerson in his pig costume would have been perfect!

Janet @ My Miniature Donkeys said...

Holy moly. Flying is sure not what it used to be.
So is little Porter going to stay with you permanently, or will he have to fly back home??

jp@A Green Ridge said...

I absolutely LOVED that!!! Such a little darling...should have been treated with a little more kindness though...:)JP

USA KuneKunes/Lori Enright said...

Hi Amy, Porter looks no worse for the wear! That's a KuneKune Pig for you! Even so, I am so sorry that you had to endure all of that. Thank you so much for your support of USA KuneKunes and for your interest in helping to preserve our wonderful, small, heritage hogs. Take care and keep the faith my friend. ~Lori